Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday, 8th September, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting - This meeting is being held remotely using Skype for Business. View directions

Contact: Email: Democracy@southkesteven.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

132.

Register of attendance and apologies for absence

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    Minutes:

    All Cabinet Members were present.

133.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 213 KB

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    Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 18 August 2020.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 18 August 2020 were agreed as a correct record of the decisions taken. 

    The Leader of the Council requested that apologies of Cabinet Members be included when the register of attendance was reported in the minutes.

     

    Following the last meeting of the Cabinet the Leader of the Council confirmed that Lindum Group had been awarded the contract for the refurbishment works for the property at Elm Street, Stamford. The contract had been awarded on 28 August 2020 and was subject to the delivery agreement being signed which was currently with the Council’s Legal Department.  Lindum Group should be on site from 5 October 2020 and the work would be completed between Christmas and the New Year.

     

    At the last meeting, Local Government Re-organisation had been raised. The Leader stated that an invitation from the Minister was still awaited, although the Minister who had looked after Lincolnshire, Simon Clarke, MP had recently resigned from the Government. PA Consulting were still working with all seven districts, putting together a strategic business case for re-organisation, and members had been receiving regular updates on the issue.

     

134.

Disclosure of Interests (if any)

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    Minutes:

    None disclosed.

135.

South Kesteven District Council Corporate Plan pdf icon PDF 287 KB

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    Report of the Leader proposing the Corporate Plan for the period 2020 to 2023.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision:

     

    1)    Cabinet recommends to Council the approval of the Corporate Plan 2020-23 as attached at Appendix A to the Leader of the Council’s report.

    2)    Cabinet notes that the key performance indicators and success criteria for each action will be developed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and the Cabinet.

     

    Considerations/Reason for decision:

     

    • The report of the Leader of the Council on the South Kesteven District Council Corporate Plan 2020-23.
    • The Corporate Plan would underpin the Council’s strategic activity and the Council’s performance framework. This would be embedded through service planning and individual performance appraisals.
    • Data sources used to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for the District, from which the vision, priorities and actions were identified.
    • Consultation and workshops with Council Members.
    • The initial equality impact analysis attached as Appendix B to the report of the Leader of the Council.

     

    Other options considered:

     

    1.    Do nothing – continue without a Corporate Plan – allocations within the annual budget would effectively set the strategy; there would be limited links to objectives, success criteria and performance targets.

     

    2.    Do minimum – develop an annual plan / business plan – this was rejected as it would inhibit long-term planning and focus more on deliverable activity in a single year, rather than any strategic goals.

     

    3.    Develop a single integrated Corporate Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy – this was rejected due to the need for a revised budget mid-year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Additionally, these documents are generally created separately in local authorities. The Corporate Plan sets the framework in which subsequent budgets are set.

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council introduced his report on the Corporate Plan for South Kesteven 2020-2023. The plan detailed the key actions and priorities of the Council for the next three years, to enable the Council to achieve its vision of “the best district in which to live, work and visit.”  The Council would deliver this goal in the next three years by working with partners to see the district flourish. 

     

    A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) had been carried out to understand the context and current performance of South Kesteven both as a district and as a council.  The work on the SWOT analysis had been used to develop the Council’s five key priorities: Growth and our Economy; Housing that Meets the Needs of all Residents; Healthy and Strong Communities; A Clean and Sustainable Environment and A High Performing Council.   Under each priority area there was a set of actions which would help the Council achieve the outcomes required for the district. 

     

    Key priority actions included; the investment in leisure facilities as part of the leisure programme; a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of the Council; the delivery of key strategic sites like St Martin’s Park; the regeneration and improvement of the district’s town centres; the building of high quality homes of all types and tenures across the district; and the implementation of the Covid-19 Recovery Plan.  

     

    A number of workshops had been held and the Leader thanked both members and officers for their work supporting the workshops and compiling the SWOT analysis, both pre and post Covid-19, which had been undertaken virtually.    There were over 50 key actions to be taken forward to improve services.  Values that had been contained previously in the Corporate Strategy, which pre-dated the Corporate Plan had been included within the Corporate Plan.  Key Performance Indicators will be developed, through engagement with the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committees. 

     

    The Leader then spoke about the current financial pressures on Councils, particularly during Covid-19 but stated that South Kesteven had taken a prudent approach which had allowed them to respond better to the crisis then many other authorities. It was an ambitious, but deliverable corporate plan, and would enable South Kesteven to strive to be the best district in which to live, work and visit.

     

    All Cabinet Members agreed that the Corporate Plan was easy to read, with clear actions and they fully endorsed it.

     

    On being put to the vote it was AGREED that Cabinet:

     

    1)    Recommends to Council the approval of the Corporate Plan 2020-23 as attached at Appendix A to the Leader of the Council’s report.

    2)    Notes that the key performance indicators and success criteria for each action will be developed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and the Cabinet.

     

136.

Amended Budget 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 314 KB

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    Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources setting out amended Budget proposals for 2020/21 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis to reflect the changes in the income and expenditure budgets set by Council on 2 March 2020.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision:

     

    Cabinet recommends to Council:

     

    1)    An increase in the salary and member allowances budgets of an additional 0.75% in order to meet the national pay agreement for 2020/21 of 2.75%.

    2)    The draft proposed budget amendments for the 2020/21 budget framework contained within the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources report and associated appendices subject to the following amendments:

     

                        i.          The Bourne Corn Exchange refurbishment to fully utilise the £168,000 allocated budget.

                       ii.          The £200,000 replacement of the Deepings all weather pitch to be deferred until 2021/22 provided agreement is reached with the football foundation.

                     iii.          To adjust the Commercial and Operations service cost to apply a 5%market supplement for loader and operational street scene staff to align their basic wage with that of the surrounding authorities. This will require a £93,000 adjustment to the Commercial and Operations service cost shown at table 3 of the report, increasing the 2020/21 proposed service budget to £8.727m (thereby increasing the proposed service variance to £1,319,000) and adjusting the general funding net budget requirement from £20.581m to £20.674m). The forecast net budget deficit will be £1,315,000 as shown at table 3 of the report.

     

    Considerations/Reasons for decision:

     

    • Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance on the Amended Budget Proposals 2020/21.
    • The impact of Covid-19 on the budget set by Council on 2 March 2020.
    • Budget monitoring undertaken by the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
    • Discussion of the proposed amended budget by the Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 26 August 2020.
    • The allocation of £500m funding from the Government, of which £194,000 would be received by the Council.
    • The Government’s introduction of a co-payment scheme to compensate local authorities for relevant, irrecoverable losses in 2020/21 from loss of income.
    • The impact of Covid-19 in the long term and the volatility and uncertainty in forecasting assumptions for the financial year.
    • The Local Government Service Pay Agreement 2020/21 of 2.75%, a 0.75% increase on the budget framework agreed on 2 March 2020.
    • The bonus payment paid to street scene operatives during the Covid-19 response period, which was due to end on 30 September 2020.
    • Comparison between the rates of pay for South Kesteven’s Street Scene operatives and their counterparts across Lincolnshire.

     

    Other options considered:

     

    There is no option but to review and amend the current budget framework due to the ongoing impact from both an income and expenditure perspective.

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council thanked the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources for his strategic direction and also the Finance Team and the Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their work on the amended budget 2020/21.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources presented his report and stated that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic an amended budget was required to reflect significant changes in the income and expenditure budgets.  The Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee had met on 26 August 2020 to discuss the amended budget for 2020/21. Members were supportive of the proposed amendments.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources highlighted two changes to the budget since the Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee. He  confirmed that the £168,000 budget for the Bourne Corn Exchange refurbishment would be fully utilised and that the £200,000 for the artificial football pitch at Deeping St James would be deferred until 2021/22 provided confirmation was received from the Football Foundation.    The remainder of the budget remained the same.  He drew members attention to the recommendation which proposed an increase of 0.75% on the salary and member allowance budgets to meet the national pay agreement of 2.75%; 2% had been allocated when the budget had been approved on 2 March 2020. 

     

    The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources stated that he was aware that the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations also had an amendment to propose.  The amended budget proposed gave a deficit position, however, the report detailed a number of interventions and actions that would be overseen to mitigate the impact on the Council’s budget stabilisation reserve.  The budget would be kept under close review for the remainder of the financial year. 

     

    The report also detailed the Governments reimbursement scheme for fees and charges.  A submission for the period April to June would be made in September 2020.   The forecast was for £1.4m and was on top of the monies highlighted in Table 1 of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources’ report. 

     

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations proposed a small amendment which concerned payment to waste operatives.  During the Covid-19 pandemic it had become apparent that one of the critical services to be maintained was the collection of waste.  To reward the diligence of teams during the crisis, a £50 per week bonus was given to the waste teams which was due to end on 30 September 2020.  South Kesteven waste operatives were the lowest paid waste and street scene operatives in Lincolnshire.  Plans were in place to correct the issue before the next years budget, however in order to put their wages on a par with their colleagues in neighbouring authorities it was proposed to move their bonus status to their expected new level from October 2020.  The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations proposed an amendment to:

     

    Adjust the proposed amended budgets to apply a 5% market supplement for loader and operational street scene staff to align their basic wage with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.

137.

Cultural Strategy pdf icon PDF 285 KB

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    Report of the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy on the Cultural Strategy for South Kesteven.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision:

     

    1. Cabinet approves the adoption of the Cultural Strategy as set out in Appendix 1 to the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy’s report.
    2. Cabinet recognises that the adoption of a Cultural Strategy is a key action within the emerging Corporate Plan, which also supports improvement and investment in local arts and cultural venues across the district.
    3. Cabinet notes the conclusions highlighted in the Cultural Strategy and advocates integrating these points into the Corporate Plan Action Plan, supporting the Authority’s goal to become one of the best places to live, work and visit in the UK.

     

    Considerations/Reasons for decision:

     

    • Report of the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy on the Cultural Strategy.
    • Workshops undertaken by the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee which explored the vision and purpose of the Strategy.
    • Establishment of a network of sports providers, user groups and other leisure stakeholders.
    • Consultations, workshops and activities carried out during 2019 with the public, stakeholders, schools and societies, both face to face and online, to identify key priorities for the Cultural Strategy.
    • Recognition of the importance of creativity and physical activity highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The Cultural Strategy would allow a fresh approach to cultural development, engaging in a broad programme of ongoing targeted interventions, initiatives and opportunities. The equality analysis is attached as Appendix 2 within the report by the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy.
    • The Cultural Strategy would bring together Arts, Heritage, Sports and Physical Activity and The Sciences to promote creativity and healthy lifestyles.

    .

    Other options considered:

     

    1. The 2013-16 Cultural Strategy included a vision for activity up to 2021: The themes included in the document could have been extended to include further relevant activity until that date.  The option was rejected, as a new focus was identified to capitalise on the success of previous initiatives and to link together the growing opportunities for health and wellbeing as a key driver for wider cultural engagement.
    2. To establish a series of smaller discrete strategies for cultural activity:  This was rejected as the early Members’ Workshops identified the need for a more cohesive approach to cultural programmes and greater connectivity between service area activity and initiatives.

    Minutes:

    The Leader thanked the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy and the Chairman and members of the Culture and Visitor Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their work on the draft strategy.  The visitor economy was critical to ensure that the district thrived and the culture economy helped to support the recovery of the district.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy presented her report on the new Cultural Strategy for the district.  The Strategy provided a clear blue print of the cultural offer in South Kesteven to both providers and the residents of the district.  Extensive conversations had been undertaken with a variety of organisations and the public.  The document brought together the Arts, Heritage, the Sciences and Sports and would centre on wider collaboration within the sector, to provide greater efficiencies and connectivity between events, projects and initiatives.

     

    It had been a challenging year for culture with the Covid-19 pandemic and events had been postponed or cancelled.  It had also brought into focus the vital part that cultural activities had played on the health and wellbeing of communities and the role of culture in the economic and people’s well-being.

     

    The Cultural Strategy would focus on three key messages; partnerships, communications and accessibility.  The Strategy provided a framework to guide South Kesteven District Council in supporting individual practitioners and organisations to re-establish the cultural landscape. Culture would be at the heart of the Council’s Corporate Plan and would help to underpin the work carried out with residents to make South Kesteven a wonderful place to live, work and visit.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy thanked the Chairman and members of the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee, together with the Head of Arts and his team for their work on the Strategy.  She also thanked those who had taken part in the consultations.

     

    Members of the Cabinet supported the proposals and the clear message sent by the Strategy and the sectors included, recognising the importance of culture and sport on people’s wellbeing both physically and mentally.

     

    A non-Cabinet Member asked about the measures for specific targets particularly in relation to sports and how they would be measured. He also made reference to the Bourne Cicle Festival.    The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy referred to previous conversations about the festival and she indicated that conversations were being held with a gentleman from Bourne about a sound business case. She was not in a position to say anything further at the present. Performance would be looked at as the Strategy was progressed.

                                         

    On being put to the vote it was AGREED that:

     

    1. Cabinet approves the adoption of the Cultural Strategy as set out in Appendix 1 to the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy’s report.
    2. Cabinet recognises that the adoption of a Cultural Strategy is a key action within the emerging Corporate Plan, which also supports improvement and investment in local arts and cultural venues across the district.
    3. Cabinet notes the conclusions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 137.

138.

Area Offices Customer Consultation pdf icon PDF 282 KB

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    Report of the Cabinet Member for Communities considering the outcomes of the two consultations relating to proposed changes to the Market Deeping and Stamford Area Office provision.

    Additional documents:

    Decision:

    Decision:

     

    1)    That Cabinet approves the relocation of the Market Deeping Area Office based on option 3 contained within the Cabinet Member for Communities’ report.

    2)    That Cabinet approves the relocation of the Stamford Area Office based on option 3 contained within the Cabinet Member for Communities’ report.

    3)    Cabinet authorises the use of the property reserve to meet any costs relating to the exiting of each site.

    4)    Cabinet recommends to Council a funding allocation of £100k to be included in the 2020/21 capital programme in order to undertake a modernisation scheme at Stamford Arts Centre.

     

    Considerations/Reasons for decision:

     

    • Report of the Cabinet Member for Communities.
    • The Customer Experience Strategy approved by Cabinet on 21 January 2020.
    • The increase in customer expectations and the use of modern technologies.
    • Two separate public consultations: One taken at the beginning of the year and one during the Covid-19 pandemic to establish any shift in opinion as a result of the service offered during the pandemic. Consultation carried out with residents, businesses and other interested parties.
    • Feedback form the consultation confirming a need to modernise elements of the customer offer and improve accessibility at Stamford Arts Centre.
    • The stage 2 Equalities Analysis attached as Appendix 7 to the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities.

     

    Other options considered:

     

    Market Deeping

     

    1.         The closure of the Market Deeping customer service centre with no alternative physical provision in Market Deeping.

    2.         The complete removal of the face-to-face provision in Market Deeping. However, this would see the installation of a kiosk, computer and direct dial phone within the Deeping Community Centre. Current staff from Market Deeping would be providing services from other locations across the district and would require some modernisation of council services to support a change in provision.

    3.         The continuation of the service in its present form. However, it was recognised through the survey that the facility needed modernisation. Whilst the quality of response from the Council’s employees was regarded as excellent, the environment no longer provided the level of customer experience that was expected.

     

    Stamford

     

    1.         The closure of the Stamford customer service centre with no alternative physical provision in Stamford.

    2.         To replace the existing centre with an enhanced self-service provision.

    3.         To continue the existing service provision. However, it was recognised through the survey that the facility needed modernisation. Whilst the quality of response from the Council’s employees was regarded as excellent, the environment no longer provided the level of customer experience that was expected.

    Minutes:

    The Leader thanked the Cabinet Member for Communities and the officers involved in the work that had been undertaken. The pandemic had shown how people’s behaviour  had changed in the way they interacted with the Council and he looked forward to the comprehensive improvement programme for Stamford Arts Centre.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Communities presented her report on the outcome of two customer consultations relating to proposed changes to the Market Deeping and Stamford Area office provision. Customer expectations continued to increase and the way in which people accessed services had changed with the introduction of a wide range of modern technologies, this had been highlighted with the recent Covid-19 pandemic.   To ensure that the Council continued to meet the needs of those who used its services on a regular basis, the report before members considered the face to face customer service provision at Market Deeping and Stamford area offices.

     

    Two consultations exercises had been carried out.  One had taken place before lockdown and one during lockdown to understand the needs and preferences of those who accessed the Council’s services at these locations.   Following the closure of the Council’s offices in March 2020, due to lockdown, the way that people accessed services had changed to telephone, website and via email.  There had been an increase in demand across these areas and between 23 March 2020 and 31 August 2020 the Council had received over 60,000 telephone calls and over 11,000 emails.

     

    A second consultation exercise had been undertaken in June/July 2020 to better understand if there had been a shift in opinion as a result of the changes to the service offer for each of the sites during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Cabinet Member for Communities thanked all those who had provided feedback, which indicated that residents were more supportive of the proposals to access services digitally.

     

    A number of options had been outlined within the report to look at how the Council could modernise its offer to residents.  Consultations had taken place with Deepings Community Library to put in a kiosk and to have access to PC’s and signposting for those who needed to physically access services.  Thanks were given to the Deepings Community Library for their help with the initiative and work would be undertaken to ensure a smooth transition took place.

     

    The offer in Stamford would relocate to the Stamford Arts Centre.  A kiosk and telephone service would be put in place and Customer Service officers would be available to support residents during seasonal or peak demand.  PC support would continue to be accessible from Stamford Library.  To ensure that a high quality service provision was delivered effectively, investment to renovate Stamford Arts Centre was proposed.  This would help to improve the effectiveness of the facilities for those accessing the Arts and the for those accessing other Council services.

     

    Cabinet Members were supportive of the proposals. The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy welcomed the use of Stamford Arts Centre and the Cabinet Member for Housing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 138.

139.

Matters Referred to Cabinet by the Council or Overview and Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 201 KB

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    Minutes:

    The Leader of Council informed the Cabinet that there were no specific recommendations from the Council or the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.  The Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee had met to discuss the amended budget proposals for 2020/21 on 26 August 2020 and he thanked the Chairman of the Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee and all members for their work on the amended budget.

140.

Key and Non Key Decisions taken under Delegated Powers pdf icon PDF 151 KB

141.

Representations and questions from Non-Cabinet Members

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    Minutes:

    A non-Cabinet member asked about the Deepings Leisure Centre which he had raised previously.  It was now nine months since Deeping members had been promised regular updates in relation to the Deepings Leisure Centre and nothing had happened to date.  He referred to meetings of both the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee which had taken place at the beginning of the year, and the establishment of a leisure working group which would meet monthly.  He quoted from both sets of Committee notes about what the working group would look at and that local Ward members would also be involved.  He wanted confirmation that no meetings of the leisure working group had taken place.

     

    The non-Cabinet member then referred to a report that had been given to Deeping St James Parish Council in which it stated that the leisure centre would be entirely located on Lincolnshire County Council land and this also applied to the artificial pitch. The Chairman of the Parish Council had informed the non-Cabinet member that this was not true as the latest plans that he had, showed the artificial pitch on land owned by Deeping St James Parish Council.   These plans had not been shared with Deeping Ward members and he asked the Deputy Leader to clarify the position.  He also asked about a ball park figure for the cost of the leisure centre.

     

    The Deputy Leader referred to when he took over the portfolio and the pandemic which had affected progress on the project.  He referred to the meeting held on 30 January 2020 at which the non-Cabinet member was present, and where members discussed what they felt was important for a leisure facility at the Deepings.  He had now visited all leisure centres in the district and this included the Deepings which he had visited three/four weeks ago.  The wording contained in the report was incorrect. The artificial pitch would be located where the pitch was currently which was on land owned by Deeping St James Parish Council.

     

    He referred to the recent meeting of Deeping St James Parish Council where the leisure centre had been discussed. The Deepings Rugby Club had stated that they wished to retain their pavilion which meant that the proposed changing rooms on the outside of the leisure centre would not be needed.   Once the final plans were known these would be discussed with Deeping members including Market Deeping members.

     

    The Deputy Leader had asked for two cost prices for running the leisure centre, one for an eight lane swimming pool for 25 metres with a movable floor and the other for an eight lane swimming pool with a 50 metre pool.  It was noted that the cost of the 50 metre pool would be very high and it was doubtful that this would be included as he was aware that every 50 metre swimming pool in the country ran at a loss.  He believed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 141.

142.

Cabinet Forward Plan 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

143.

Close of meeting

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    Minutes:

    The meeting closed at 15:11pm.